All power generation comes with risk. However, those risks are traded off against the immeasurable societal benefits provided by reliable and affordable electricity.
Where the power source is wholly weather dependent – and the industry that profits from it wholly dependent upon massive and endless subsidies and, therefore, wholly unsustainable – there is nothing to trade off worth the lives of those who take to the skies.
In short, wind power creates a whole raft of wholly unnecessary risks to life and limb, not least for pilots and their passengers.
Finally, planning panels are starting to act with common sense, instead of being overwhelmed by wind industry propaganda and bribed and/or bullied to rubber stamp applications by lying and lawyered-up developers.
In this case, common sense prevailed.
Environmental Review Tribunal rules against Clearview wind project
16 August 2017
“It will take a day or so to get our head around it,” he said. “There’s a number of legal ways to move forward … until I hear back from the lawyers, I don’t know how (the decision) has been written, and the devil’s in the details there.”
The Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled to revoke the approval for eight 500-foot-tall wind turbines in an area near the Collingwood Regional Airport.
“This is a massive win,” said John Wiggins, who filed the original appeal against the director of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change decision to grant WPD Canada a renewable energy approval for the Fairview Wind project in March, 2016.
In a decision released Aug. 16, Dirk Vanderbent and Hugh Wilkins, who oversaw the appeal and subsequent remedy hearing for Fairview Wind, determined the project posed a risk of serious harm to human health.
WPD Canada president Ian MacRae said the company’s legal counsel will spend a few days digesting the decision before deciding a next move.
The company has 30 days to file an appeal.
Along with Wiggins, the decision to approve the eight-turbine project had been challenged by several parties, including the Town of Collingwood, Township of Clearview, Simcoe County, the residents’ group Preserve Clearview, and Kevin and Gail Elwood.
There were also several side parties to the appeal, including the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, Steve and Mandy Bridson, and Susan Richardson.
“We’re pleased with the decision. It’s been a community achievement by all,” Elwood said.
In October, Vanderbent and Wilkins had ruled the project met the test for potential harm to human health with respect to the operations at the Collingwood Regional Airport and Elwood’s Clearview Aerodrome. At the time, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change director had also rescinded the approval of two of the eight turbines.
However, WPD was granted the opportunity to prove it could mitigate that risk, as well as the potential impact on the local population of the little brown bat.
In their ruling on the remedy hearing, Vanderbent and Wilkins stated while mitigation measures could be implemented to reduce bat mortality, “neither the approval holder nor the director has proposed effective means to mitigate the serious harm to human health.
“The tribunal concludes that the decision of the director should be revoked. As such, an amendment to the REA to address harm to little brown (bat) via an amended mitigation plan is rendered unnecessary,” they wrote.
Clearview Township mayor Chris Vanderkruys applauded the decision.
“The decision by the ERT to revoke the approval will be very beneficial for both the Collingwood Regional Airport and the proposed Clearview Aviation Business Park,” Vanderkruys said. “It has been a long fight, but we have managed to preserve our landscape and ensure viable operation for both the airport and proposed development which will create valuable economic impact.”
Debbie Korolnek, the general manager of Engineering, Planning and Environment for the County of Simcoe, noted the tribunal recognized the argument from the county and the two municipalities that the proximity of the structures to the airport, and the effect of turbulence created by wind turbines on planes, were major concerns.
“The decision today is a good outcome,” Korolnek said.
“We are extremely happy with the decision issued today,” said Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper. “The town has long expressed concern with the proposed turbines, particularly over the safety of aircraft utilizing our regional airport, and we’re pleased to see that the Environmental Review Tribunal has agreed that this is a serious harm to human health.”
MacRae said the company will have to weigh its options as to whether to appeal, or to walk away.
“I think everything’s on the table,” he said, noting “there is a jurisdictional issue” as the federal agencies responsible for aviation safety have determined “they have no issues with the project.”
Wiggins expressed surprise the tribunal would rule against a previous decision of the province.
“I’m flabbergasted the tribunal came through with this judgement,” he said.
Wiggins joked he had a bottle of champagne ready to open, and was holding off until the appeal period had passed.
Elwood said he was hopeful an appeal would be unlikely given the evidence of the risk of harm to human health.
“The ERT’s decision is based on the facts, and an appeal would need to be based on error in law or a fundamental misunderstanding of the evidence,” he said. “I believe the harm to human health was proven at the hearing through expert testimony and evidence … and the tribunal maintained that.”
“What they could appeal, I’m not sure, but the door is still open,” Wiggins added. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the brown bat, or human health, it’s a win, and what the hell they can possibly come back and appeal, I’m not sure.”
Here’s another take on the same happy tale.
Clearview Wind turbines licence revoked
The Enterprise Bulletin
16 August 2017
There may not be eight wind turbines spinning in Clearview Township after all.
In a decision released Wednesday, the Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the renewable energy approval for the project, saying the danger to human life and safety was too great.
Within the turbine sightlines is the Collingwood Regional Airport and a private air field owned by Kevin and Gail Elwood.
Eight turbines that were proposed for the Fairview project near Stayner would have seen the 450-foot-tall power-generating structures set up and serviced through connecting underground distribution power lines in locations to both the north and south of County Road 91.
The review had to consider were whether the project would cause serious harm to human health or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.
Other concerns involved endangerment to little brown bats in the area.
Although the tribunal accepted a mitigation proposal from wpd Canada, it deemed the danger to human health and safety, with the towers being so close to an airport, too great a risk and revoked the approval.
Challenges to the initial approval were issued by the Elwoods, John Wiggins, Clearview Township, Collingwood and the County of Simcoe.
In a statement, Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper expressed her relief with the decision.
“We are extremely happy with the decision issued today,” said Cooper. “The town has long expressed concern with the proposed turbines, particularly over the safety of aircraft utilizing our regional airport, and we’re pleased to see that the Environmental Review Tribunal has agreed that this is a serious harm to human health.”
The applicant, wpd Canada, had no comment, as it is reviewing the decision and has 30 days to appeal.
The Enterprise Bulletin
The decision, if it stands, is bound to save lives.
There are at least 2 critical dangers for flyers created by these things: 1) air turbulence – generated by a sea of 50-60m blades with their outer tips travelling at around 350km/h – interfering with the ability of the pilot to control their kite (see our post here); and 2) slamming into them – with reasonably predictable results.
Results such as the 4 killed in South Dakota, when this plane slammed into a turbine in foggy conditions:
4 thoughts on “Wind Turbines Present Mortal Threat to Flyers: Project Canned as Unacceptable Threat to Human Life”
I hear that the Cobden airfield in Victoria is now threatened with wind turbines.
The Popham airfield video link below may be of assistance.
Perhaps a similar video out of Cobden might be a good idea?
Good to see common sense prevail for once in this Canadian example.
The physical obstruction and wake turbulence created by wind turbines is a significant and much understated safety hazard for low altitude aviators.
In this respect Ag pilots clearly are considered expendable, not too many votes there, while emergency services pilots, fire, ambulance and police are gagged when it comes to comment. So while the “cone of silence” holds for now, at some point the tish will undoubtedly hit the giant fan and all will be revealed. Let’s hope lives aren’t lost before this happens.
In Oz, bushfire water-bombing pilots are now routinely refusing to fly closer than about 3km to wind towers for obvious safety reasons in smoky conditions. So the fires caused by wind farms cannot be fought from the air until they have spread a considerable distance from the deadly turbines.
A Boeing 737-800 type rated pilot flying for one of the major airlines in Oz stated to me that he regularly sees the wind turbines on the approach to Canberra airport. I explained the troubles we were having in Victoria and how they are building them far too close to homes and in areas of outstanding beauty.
He simply stated to me what a waste of time they are and that we should be going 4th or even 5th Generation Nuclear power.